By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
SHANNON – It didn’t take long for the black asphalt of the new walking track in Shannon to be covered in shoe prints, once the blue ribbon was cut on the track Sunday afternoon.
Elected officials and community members gathered to be the first to walk on the track, located behind the South lee County Volunteer Fire Department on County Road 154.
It’s the first project completed in the Lee County 4th District Community Development Group’s two-phase plan to revitalize the district. The first phase is two walking tracks: one in Shannon, which is complete, and one in Palmetto, which the group hopes to finish by the end of the year. Phase two includes two community centers in the respective communities. These plans were made in January.
“Half of phase one is complete in less than nine months because of the citizens and concerned people in the 4th District,” Rev. David Walker, president of the 4th District Community Development Group, told the crowd of about 100 that turned out for the ribbon cutting.
Walker said Shannon was ready to better itself, and many citizens pitched in to make the walking track a reality.
“We hear a lot of negative things about Mississippi, but this group had the mindset of being proactive instead of reactive,” he said.
Tommy Lee Ivy, Lee County District 4 Supervisor, agreed. He reminded the audience of the slogan, “I can’t, but we can.”
“We’ve got some real, real, real committed people in District 4,” Ivy said.
Ivy and Walker were two of the first on the track, leading most of the audience in a stroll.
A recent knee surgery had Rep. Steve Holland on a walker, but he encouraged the community to walk – even if he couldn’t get out there just yet.
“Get off your duff and walk every day,” he said. “It’ll help you physically, it’ll help you spiritually, it’ll help you mentally, if you get out here and do it.”
Though the Shannon track was completed quickly, there’s still more work to be done: the Palmetto track, and finally the two community centers.
Walker told the crowd he hoped to see family reunions, after-school programs, senior citizen fellowships and weddings at the community center that would be built next to the walking track.
“We can do it – can’t we do it, 4th District?” Walker asked, and the crowd cheered.